I don't know how many people have read the book or not, so when I mean "spoilers" I don't want anyone who hasn't read the book to read this. If you've read the book, you will understand.
I went to see The Hunger Games last night. We went two hours early to get a good seat. The theater was full of noisy, obnoxious teenagers. When the movie came on, they were quiet as church mice!
Coming out of this movie, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. The reason I loved this book so much is because it was very clearly a story of political inequality, political suppression, brain washing and propaganda, the difference between classes, and lastly, the story of a girl caught up in it all. I thought the way they discussed the poverty and lack of food in her district was well done in the book, it was very thorough and showed a very clear picture of what life was like for these people in these districts. When they got to the Capital, it was decadance, riches, and more food than they could ever imagine eating. This was not really shown very well in the movie. Yes, it showed District 12 and yes, you could tell that they were poor. But almost starving to death is the reason Katniss became such an inept hunter in the first place. I thought they could have played more up on this fact because it is an essential story line to understanding what this society and culture was truly about. They also never mentioned that whoever won the Hunger Games would have food for their district the following year, which I thought was a mistake to omit. This was another level of control the Capital had and an important one, at that. District 12 hadn't had a winner in a long time at this point, so saying that would have been a good thing to include.
Another thing that bothered me is they didn't make Haymitch a drunkard, not really. He is a very important character in next two books and him being drunk most of the time is very important to the story, because he can't deal with the unfairness and sickness of it all and what he did to win, but it doesn't really portray him that way in the movie. I do like this character, he is very likeable and Woody Harrelson does a great job. But, it was a story line I thought could have been more exaggerated, as it was in the book. The other characters were really good and I liked them very much. Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, is clearly a Katniss fan in this movie. In the movie, it no where near went into describing his role in her future and the revolution to follow, nor did it describe their relationship in detail. Effie, however, was portrayed very well and I thought it was pretty true to her character in the book.
I think they really wrote the movie to go as fast as they could through the beginning half of the book to get to the arena scenes, which I understand. It was a 2 1/2 hour movie as it was. The arena scene was great, in fact, I leaned over to my sister several times and said, "That's exactly how I pictured it in my head!" And the way they show the "control center" over the arena was different than the book, but I see why they did that. It showed how they could make things appear out of nothing, the sky changing, stuff like that. It reminded me a little of The Truman Show. But they did leave out alot of the violent scenes, and a very important scene at the end was changed and I thought, for the worse. The mutant "dogs" who came in at the end of the book were actually their fallen tributes that had been morbidly mutated and Katniss and Peeta saw it in their eyes, which was incredibly haunting and very important piece to the story that showed just how sadistic the Capital could be to make their control known. In the movie, they were just, dogs. Mean dogs, yes, but just dogs.
The only other thing that truly bothered me was the camera work. I am not a fan of the "shaky camera for dramatic effect" and there is alot of that in the movie. I had to look away a time or two because it made me dizzy. So, just be warned, if you aren't a fan of that either.
All in all, I can tell you that the movie was not intended for people who haven't read the book. Would you get the story? To a certain extent, yes. You understand the very simple story of the politics and disgusting nature of it all. But you will never truly understand why this book was such an impactful piece of literature unless you read the book first. So, keeping that in mind, it was a good movie. Jennifer Lawrence is a great Katniss and her performance was spot-on to the Katniss I imagined in my head. The people who lived in the Capital looked like I thought they would, too, with their colorful, over the top clothes and hair. But all in all, if you go in expecting it to be more than an entertaining movie, you would be disappointed too. It might not bother you that they left things out. But for me, I really enjoyed what this book had to say about government and control, so for me, the reason I truly loved the book was missing from the movie.